Returning from DC on the weekend, I sat next to a guy that was passing the two million mile mark with United Airlines. I didn’t know whether to congratulate him, or to commiserate, such is the challenge associated with regular business travel. Over time, I’ve developed a personal list of ways to help interaction with fellow fliers and airline employees, so thought I’d share a few tips and tricks;
1. Always keep a granola bar in your hand luggage, as you never know when delays will occur.
2. Form a relationship with the gate agent if you see things going side-ways during a delay. Buy them a water or candy to get their attention, especially if they start to transition passengers to other flights. Kill them with kindness.
3. Always carry a broad-sheet newspaper, in case the person in front of you reclines their seat to the max. As you read it, and the top half falls onto their head, it will tickle their hair. That, in conjunction with you directing your reading light and air duct as far forward as possible will deter them from leaning too far back—giving you more room to work.
4. Alternatively – Ask the person in front of you if they intend to recline, avoiding the possibility of them throwing their seat back, and catching your laptop between their seat and your tray table – a recipe for disaster, if the monitor buckles.
5. If you have multiple legs to your journey, pick one that you plan to use for work (aisle seat) and one that you plan to use to rest/sleep (window seat).
6. Get the name of the gate agent/flight attendant that you are interacting with most, and use it. They are more likely to pay attention to you, as opposed to avoiding eye contact, as is often the norm.
7. Try to fly early morning or late evening for work, to avoid having to deal with back-log of emails and voice-mails when you de-plane, and maximize up-time.
8. If flying to New York, take Kennedy or La Guardia over Newark, all things being equal. Less delays. If flying out of New York, take the first flight of the day if possible, as delays increase throughout the day.
9. Always have a frequent flier number (FF#) for any airline you are flying, even if you only fly with them once, as that will help you get onto a different flight ahead of those that do not have a FF#, in the event of a cancellation.
10. Always scout out seating areas 2-3 gates away from your departure gate for power outlets, as those are in very short supply around gates that are within an hour of departure time. Juice up before long flights!
If you have tips and tricks of your own that you employ on a regular basis, please let us know, as anything that helps improve the art of business travel can only be a good thing! Thank you.
– David Sly, President